FROM THE ARCHIVE: Santa Claus in the Bay Area throughout the 1980s

A few classic Santa Claus stories from 1982, 1985 & 1986

ByJustin Mendoza via KGO logo
Friday, December 25, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

Who is Santa Claus? We asked the Bay Area that question at Union Square in San Francisco on December 14, 1982.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Santa Claus, perhaps the most recognized symbol to the Christmas holiday, has been portrayed by many donning the famous red suit, santa hat and thick white beard for decades.

"Who is Santa Claus?" Late ABC7 News medical reporter Dr. Joy Browne asked that very important question in the heart of Union Square on December 14, 1982.

"I think he's like Cary Grant," one woman said.

"He's a very nice guy that lives up in the North Pole," said one child. "I think he might go to church."

While St. Nick is usually transported by sleigh with the help of his eight reindeers, in a story from former ABC7 News reporter Ed Leslie, Santa was seen on a horse in the North Bay on December 25, 1985.

WATCH: Santa Claus on horseback greets Marin County community: December 25, 1985

But Santa does not always have to wear the iconic red suit. Former ABC7 News reporter Frank Kracher began his story with the line: "This is Frank Kracher in the Napa Valley, where Santa wears a blue pin-stripe suit, owns a winery, and delivers gifts in a late model saab."

Dressed in a non-Santa suit on December 25, 1986, Napa winemaker Dario Sattui dropped by a senior living facility for the eighth time, and presented his gift in the form of a wine bottle and a glass.

WATCH: Napa winemaker Dario Sattui as 'Santa': Dec. 25, 1986

"I think older people in this country are neglected," said Sattui, who later became the owner of V. Sattui, after his great-grandfather Vittorio Sattui in St. Helena, and future founder of Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga. "Often here, we farm them out to rest homes and convalescent homes. And I know that on Christmas Day it can be a real happy time for people, but it can also be a real sad and depressing time for people that are away from friends and their families."

In this edition of "From The Archive," we take a look at a few Santa Claus traditions in the 1980s.